Attorney General's Weekly Newsletter
Volume 9, Issue 57 • February 10, 2012

On Thursday, we announced that Florida has entered a historic, national $25 billion settlement with the nation's five largest mortgage servicers over foreclosure abuses and unacceptable nationwide mortgage servicing practices. This settlement will provide substantial relief to struggling Florida homeowners, and it ensures that our state gets its fair share of the relief being provided nationally. The proposed agreement provides an estimated $8.4 billion in relief to Florida homeowners and addresses future mortgage loan servicing practices. Additionally, this agreement holds banks accountable and puts in place new protections for homeowners in the form of strict mortgage servicing standards.

Florida's share of the total monetary benefits under the settlement is approximately $8.4 billion.

• Florida borrowers will receive an estimated $7.6 billion in benefits from loan modifications, including principal reduction, and other direct relief.

• Approximately $170 million will be available for cash payments to Florida borrowers who lost their home to foreclosure from January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2011 and suffered servicing abuse.

• The value of refinanced loans to Florida’s underwater borrowers would be an estimated $309 million.

• The state will receive a direct payment of $350 million.

In addition to the terms of the national settlement agreement, we separately negotiated an agreement with the nation's three largest mortgage servicers to ensure that a guaranteed portion of the overall settlement funds goes to Florida borrowers.

The unprecedented joint state-federal settlement is the result of a civil law enforcement investigation and initiative that includes state attorneys general and state banking regulators across the country, and nearly a dozen federal agencies. The settlement holds banks accountable for past mortgage servicing and foreclosure fraud and abuses and provides relief to homeowners. The settlement generally releases civil claims related to robo-signing, other foreclosure-related abuses, and loan origination misconduct, but it provides no release of criminal claims or of claims related to mortgage securitization.

I am pleased that we were able to obtain much-needed relief to Floridians and help restore stability to Florida’s housing market.

In the News
U.S. DEA: Florida 'Pill Mill' Crackdown Working, Sunshine State News
Pill mill law sends 'pillbillies' packing, Orlando Sentinel
Bondi, lawmakers urge support for human trafficking laws, Miami Herald
Florida homeowners to receive $8.4 billion in mortgage relief in landmark settlement, Tampa Bay Times
Florida joins multi-state mortgage settlement, grabs $8.4 billion for homeowners, Miami Herald

Protecting Floridians
Attorney General Bondi Joins Senator Flores and Representative Snyder to Advocate Legislation Cracking Down on Human Trafficking

On Wednesday, Attorney General Pam Bondi joined Senator Anitere Flores and Representative William Snyder to advocate for legislation to make Florida a zero-tolerance state for human trafficking. Senate Bill 1880, sponsored by Senator Flores and House Bill 7049, sponsored by Representative Snyder, will strengthen existing laws against human trafficking and curtail a 32-billion dollar industry that exploits men, women, and children.

Attorney General Bondi’s Office Arrests Volusia County Woman for Neglect and Abuse of a Disabled Adult

Attorney General Bondi announced that a Volusia County woman was arrested on charges she neglected a disabled resident of the Manor on the Green Skilled Nursing Center in Daytona Beach. Kathleen Pimental, 55, was arrested by law enforcement officers from the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the New Smyrna Police Department.

Pimental has been charged with one count of neglect of a disabled adult, a third-degree felony; and one count of acquiring or obtaining a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception, or subterfuge, a first-degree misdemeanor. If convicted, she faces up to six years in prison, and up to a $6,000.00 fine. The case is being prosecuted by the Volusia County State Attorney’s Office.

Florida Attorney General Bondi Hosts Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Ceremony

Attorney General Pam Bondi named Polk County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Braswell as the recipient of the Attorney General's 2011 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award. Deputy Braswell was joined by nine fellow officers from around the state at a ceremony recognizing them for their dedication to law enforcement and their protection of the public.

Governor and Cabinet Members Hold Meeting at the Florida State Fair

To kick-off the Florida State Fair, the Governor and Cabinet members held their meeting at the fairgrounds. They enjoyed flipping the switch to open the fair, touring the grounds, and learning about Florida’s agriculture industry. While Attorney General Bondi did not win the slide race against Commissioner Putnam, she looks forward to doing so next year.

Attorney General Bondi Presents Resolution to Tampa and Hillsborough County

At Thursday’s Cabinet meeting, Attorney General Bondi presented the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County with a resolution signed by the Governor and Cabinet, thanking them for their gracious hospitality.

Attorney General Bondi Recognizes Agent Thomas and Drug-Sniffing Dog for Outstanding Work

While in Tampa, Attorney General Bondi, along with the Governor and other Cabinet members, recognized Agent Drew Thomas from the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigations in Orlando and his canine partner, Tebow, for their hard work and dedication to the safety of Floridians. Agent Thomas and Tebow, who have been partners for three years, are responsible for the detection of well over 1,000 lbs. of illegal narcotics and more than $1 million in illegal drug proceeds.

Attorney General Bondi Recognizes Ballerina Hannah Bettes for placing 2nd in the International Grand Prix for Ballet in Switzerland

Attorney General Bondi, along with the Governor and other Cabinet members, recognized Hannah Bettes for placing 2nd in the International Grand Prix for ballet in Switzerland. Hannah, who began her ballet career at age 12, trains in Tampa.

Attorney General Bondi Congratulates Members of the Plant City High School Football Team on Winning State Championship

Attorney General Bondi, along with the Governor and other Cabinet members, congratulated the Plant City High School football team for being named state champions.